Yendi — Something sinister is taking place in communities around Saboba, Chereponi and Sang near Yendi in northern Ghana. Innocent children are being killed because they are either born deformed or their mothers died after giving birth to them.
"My sister died when she gave birth to my nephew and later a witchdoctor said it was the baby who caused the death. Soon after, when the little boy was not seen again, I knew what had happened," says Asana Abu.
Back to the spirit world
"In the Wapuli village, we all know that happens to children who were born with bad luck: those who either do not have a proper body like you and I, or those who have sent their mother back to the spirit world," says Asana.
The parish priest of the Sang Catholic Church, Father Cletus Akosah has come across such incidents all over the area. He claims it's particularly prevalent among the Konkomba people.
Vanishing versus wandering
"The people do not understand that, a child can be born with body defects," says Father Akosah. "Such children are quickly condemned to death. A year ago, people wanted to kill a boy who they claimed was vanishing from home during the night. The witchdoctor said the child must be killed because he was possessed with witchcraft."
Someone rushed to report this story to Father Akosah who managed to intervene. "When we brought the boy to the Nazareth Home for God's Children in Sang, we noticed that he would wander away on occasion. This was something his parents had not noticed. So he was not vanishing as they claimed, it's just that they did not keep a serious watch over him. So whenever he wandered away from the house, they claimed he was vanishing."
Sister Stan Terese Mario Mumuni is currently caring for 30 such children. With not enough money coming from donations, she has come with innovative ways to raise funds for the care home. "We have set up a tailoring shop in the house and sew clothes for the parish priests in the district. We are also working to open a bakery to make additional money."
Sister Terese remains hopeful. One of the children, six-year-old Issabelle, just told her: "I want to be a doctor."